Monday, November 17, 2014

Unspoken truth about Selling at Zalora

I've been with Zalora Marketplace for around 2-3 months + now and I want to share my experience with you.

I was very excited because Zalora is somewhat of a big name and quite a number of people are aware of the said website. I felt a great honor when their marketing executive contacted me and wanted to meet with me and carry our brand.
After discussing all the benefits and what the contract entails, I was very excited and my answer is a 101% yes. *I won't be disclosing details of the contract*

Alas! This amazing opportunity is finally at my grasp when I officially said yes and signed the contract (I appreciated the marketing executive a lot because she was very understanding and flexible in scheduling the training and all)

On-boarding was okay, we spent few hours learning the seller center which is where sellers upload pictures, stocks, descriptions etc. Now my shop is ALL SET.

I tried to check in with the seller center every so often until I got tired because nobody was ordering. It dawned upon me - how will customers know your existence just by visiting zalora? (the answer is they won't).

Days, weeks, months went buy and I'm happy to report that there are customers who bought almost everyday but the sad thing was, far from what I expected, there was not much of a market in Zalora since they don't know your brand, the question still remains - "how will they search your brand if they don't know you exist?"

During the training a lot of promises or rather "promising" words were let out and we (or at least I) had the impression or inkling that somehow zalora will look for a way to promote new brands or make your brand known (well nothing like that happened haha).

The things I said above are arguably dependent on situation, your product, sales that season or what customers in Zalora are looking for, but the things I will expound on below are quite different.

Here's the process you go through when you are a marketplace seller. What happens is, you are informed when somebody orders (thru email/sellercenter). The next thing you have to do is set the status to ready so that someone will come in the next day and pick up the items then after which they deliver it to the customer/s - all well and simple. The problem is (and mind that this happened more than thrice already) sometimes, well a lot of times, it takes more than 2 days before the courier actually picks up the items at our place. Literally, I have shipment plastics piling up and falling down because (just this week) it took FIVE FREAKING DAYS before the courier picked the items up. Just imagine what the buyers feel while waiting for their delayed package.

As we all know, Zalora offers such flexible terms when it comes to shopping like free returns (YES FREE RETURN NO MATTER WHAT YOUR REASON IS) and Cash on Delivery. While these privileges are great when you're the buyer, it's not good when you're the seller (like me). Why?

1. CASH ON DELIVERY.
While this item seems harmless to us and you ask (what's the problem? instead of bank transfer or Credit card payment we just pay when we receive the item) well yes that's fine when it's simply stated like this but the problem here is, since the customer did not pay for the item yet, they could reject it or not show up at all when the delivery comes in because they changed their minds or something. The item gets returned to Zalora and sellers have to pay a shipping fee so that these items will be returned to us. (don't even mention the mess up in our inventory and the waste of a perfectly good item because we won't be getting it back for more than a month or so!)

2. FREE RETURN - No matter what the reason is
Again, while this is great for the consumers, and in an ideal world where customers are decisive and reasonable - I'm also okay with this. It's fine if customers return it because it is damaged or the size is wrong but what the hell! Sometimes the reason for return is (test deliver) What?! I've wasted time making the item, printing the waybill info (well with that being said, ink is expensive!), and packing the item!
I'll give you a sample scenario of why I think Free return is a problem:
Customer A buys an item from Zalora under Shop ABC - click click click, CHECKOUT! after that the customer continues to browse and sees something he/she likes better - being indecisive as we are humans, this customer decides to wait for the item to be delivered and when he/she gets the item, he/she will return it (well what the hell, it's easy to return cause it's free!) and purchase the other item they want. While reading this you may think, what's wrong with this? Well what's wrong here is, it's a bunch of hassle for the sellers like me. Aside from wasting our inventory, we have to pay a shipping fee so that the items will be returned to us. Also we don't get the returned items right away! I've waited for more than 2 months now and most of the returned items are not yet with me - talk about waste of inventory.

What happens now?
I'm still part of Zalora and while we are allowed to terminate the contract any time, I think I'll stick around just until the end of my contract.

Bottom line:
I don't feel that it's worth it. I expected a whole lot more from Zalora and they did not live up to my expectations. The simple fact that items purchased lies for up to 5 days in our place waiting to be picked up feels so sloppy. I'm letting you in a big secret, you won't earn much either - I get a whole lot more sales in my own online shop than on Zalora (like a week = 1 month in zalora). I'm not sure if it's just pumped up flowery words but they mentioned that I was one of the top sellers last month and I was very surprised because I felt like the sales was disappointing.

Am I saying don't sell with them? Not at all. I just want you to be informed. It's a good experience and if you want to, go ahead and try it out. This is just my experience, maybe it'll be different for you ;)

xx,
Mel


28 comments:

  1. Hi there, just read your post and totally feel you. I've been with Zalora MP for almost 9 months and even though sales are coming in, the return rate is ridiculous and is basically eating up any profits that I am earning from my sales. Not to mention there are shipping fees and Zalora commission fees... I don't feel that my products are bad. The pictures are clear, and the description and measurements are concise. Sometimes the products are returned even without it being unwrapped!! Which is just so painful because of all the time and effort spent packing/mailing and profit margins are so tight. Before I joined, I was promised that their return rate was really low, at 1%. However I'm looking at almost a 10-20% return rate per month. Most of my Zalora customers are also using vouchers (e.g. store credit from other returned items). I might hang around for a bit, but I don't see Zalora as a very profitable bet, at least as a Zalora MP seller.

    If you don't mind, could you share an estimation of your return rates? If it's not as bad (below 10%), maybe I will find some way to improve my store. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. hi k, i feel you. i also did the same thing. the pictures i post were really clear un-altered and i took close up shots too to show what materials are used - i also write it in the description part! if you are confident with your product dont let zalora returns fool you. i have the same return rate!! around 10-20% per month too, lucky me ive joined a bunch of bazaars already and been selling online for 3years already that is why i can say that my products are well and good because the items returned to me with the comment of unsatisfied with quality or something like that are actually the best sellers at my bazaars (until now). you are very patient for sticking with them that long haha during the orientation we were indirectly promised a lot of things that werent fulfilled even a bit. i hated the packing and printing of bunch of pages and the screw up in my stocks because of returns (not to mention undelivered items) that is why i only stayed for 6 months.

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  3. Hi
    I was planning to join Zalora MP but I heard some bad comments about it. Thanks for sharing, I will reconsider. I have a website and would like to increasing my exposure in Zalora. Some people told me Zalora wont be able to increase your brand awareness. By the way, may I know what Bazaar do you go to?

    Michellle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      you are welcome, i'm glad i could help!
      Joining zalora market place won't boost your online presence at all (at least that's my experience). My go to bazaar is always bazaar for all seasons:) advertisement through bloggers is still the best way to go if you want people to know more about your brand. If you have other questions feel free to message me ;)

      XX,
      Mel

      Delete
    2. Hi Mel!

      I just started a small jewelry business online recently, i find out is hard to get my product out there and get sales in. But blogger budget is abit costly for me at the moment now. Do you mind to share any tips to gain more brand awareness and to boast up sale. T.T

      Delete
    3. Hi,
      I am planing to sell on Zalora but I am unable to get any lead. Can you please provide me with any lead? It will be very helpful.

      Delete
  4. Just to share my experience with Zalora MP as a seller. I'm with them for a little over 3 months. Last month, I sold 5 pcs of my products with them. When the SOA came the other day, payout is negative! Turns out, one of the items got cancelled because the customer changed her mind (I didn't receive a notification about this). The 4 other items were delivered to buyers already according to the Seller Center. However, since the courier partner haven't sent their report to Zalora yet, the status of the 4 items are still pending on the SOA. I think it's just unfair considering the payout term is more than 30 days. Which means it will take 60 days for me to get the payout for that 4 items. Also, forgot to mention, I have 1 return item that's still not delivered back to me. It's been more than 2 months. I'm assuming it got lost somewhere during transit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi,
    Wahh...thanks for sharing your experiences! I'm planning on selling clothes both online and in bazaars, I'm still researching and thought Zalora is better than Etsy and can help with advertising + their office is just nearby so I need not worry about shipping. But I think I must shift my focus away from Zalora. Thanks for the tips!:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you try our service? We have lunched at 15 july 2016. We prefer to sell produk from IKS malaysia.. come join us as seller

      https://www.paperoger.com

      Delete
  6. Hi Mel,

    How about thier payment did they pay you on time ? i have not receive my payment for months

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi therem I have yet to be paid for months as well. Are there more of such sellers out there who are unpaid? I really hope we can get together and voice out our payment issues to Zalora. They definitely have not been adhering to their payment terms, and my orders since August have not been paid till now December despite multiple email correspondences.

      Delete
    2. Hi there,

      same for me as well, my payment has been delayed since May last year, they keep claiming its issues on my side with relation to personal details,which I find ridiculous (because why would you sign my contract if my details are fraudulent)? Would love to get together with like-minded people experiencing the same issues (:

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  7. Hi. Been with Zalora since Nov. 2015 and sales are good and I have been paid for Dec. SOA in time. Waiting for Jan payout at the moment, which should be on Feb. 4. Contact your Seller Manager directly if you have not been paid on time.

    Return rate for us is around 10% and is such a waste of time. Usually reason given is - no payment. That's it!

    Also can anyone here confirm - they just informed me that 2Go has stopped giving them pouches for free so now I should go and buy Zalora customized supplies (pouches)! Which is insane.

    I have been selling online for such a long time and ship items via LBC, JRS and also 2Go and they have not charged me for pouches. Now Zalora is saying this. With the amount of commission they are charging us sellers ( I am buying charged 30%), you think they can afford to give us the pouches for free!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's totally insane. Anyway, what I do is I just ask our rider to pack the items for me on their office. No way I'm going to buy pouches from them. Plus you gotta pay for the shipping fee! Crazy...
      Our contract is ending this March and we have no plans in renewing. Unless they lessen the 30% comm or waive the monthly listing fee maybe. Which I am very sure, won't happen. LOL!

      Delete
    2. Hi, I am trying to get into Zalora for months. Can you please give me some lead through whom I can get into Zalora. Its very important. I have a vast number of products and big inventory.

      Delete
  8. Yes, that's totally insane. Anyway, what I do is I just ask our rider to pack the items for me on their office. No way I'm going to buy pouches from them. Plus you gotta pay for the shipping fee! Crazy...
    Our contract is ending this March and we have no plans in renewing. Unless they lessen the 30% comm or waive the monthly listing fee maybe. Which I am very sure, won't happen. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi,

    Thanks for your explanation and comments guys. I have just got an invitation from Zalora and yup, I have decided not to join them. Better stick with my website and fb. Better sale. Easy interaction with customer and all people happy.

    Cheers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi All,

    I've read all your heartaches with Zalora MP. I'm actually building a marketplace for SME's that has smaller commission rates and having our own store url where you can use it as your official one stop shop website.

    You may email me at mar.tuico@gmail.com or contact me on skype mar.tuico for more info.

    Thanks,
    Mar

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  11. Hi guys,

    I am planning to quit it. It's no profit at all. And return rate is so high! No matter how good qualify my products.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for sharing! But I'm just wondering, what is the average commission do they charge on sellers for each transaction? Is it more expensive than Q0010 and Lazada?

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  13. My 6 month contract is almost done and they have new contracts which can be signed online. I'm seriously thinking of quitting especially because there are new fees being charged over the 30 percent commission..on a prr iyem basis. Imagine 75pesos the first item and 40 per additional. I think this is how they are charging the shipping fees now but just imagine you have 4 small items like earrings in an order....the product fees would be 195. Thats outrageous...when it would only cost 50 to send it using a local courier.

    My question tgough for those that stopped, do you still get back the initial deposit of 3k that we had to pay wheb srarting the contract?

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    Replies
    1. I stopped. The commissions are ridiculous considering, theyre unprofessionalism and they dont do much promoting your brand.

      Delete
  14. My 6 month contract is almost done and they have new contracts which can be signed online. I'm seriously thinking of quitting especially because there are new fees being charged over the 30 percent commission..on a prr iyem basis. Imagine 75pesos the first item and 40 per additional. I think this is how they are charging the shipping fees now but just imagine you have 4 small items like earrings in an order....the product fees would be 195. Thats outrageous...when it would only cost 50 to send it using a local courier.

    My question tgough for those that stopped, do you still get back the initial deposit of 3k that we had to pay wheb srarting the contract?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. btw I did get back the deposite but they deducted something from it which I am not sure what They did not send me a SOA for that and checking my past SOAs, I wasnt charged for anything

      Delete
  15. Thanks! finally a helpful review with real experiences. Zalora sounds like a nightmare. I guess i'm better off with my current ol store. There are smaller marketplaces out there like those managed by LBC, Smart, etc. Anyone with experience? The main thing is, the problem remains the same. They would not be promoting your brand further

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  16. I was with Zalora for almost a year and ny experience was horrible as well. Not only that you have to pay a penalty but also customers would return your nice product looking like they trashed it somewhere. Whats worse is Zalora wont accept your comolaint. I dont like the fact that their staff are also unprofessional. I asked a simple question when I was at their office and one of their brand managers who handled me rudely answered like a rich brat with no business etiquette at all. Ive informed them millions of times to pick up items from1 10 to 5pm only as no one is available to pick anything up in my office at 6 OR 7 FREAKING AM. Imagine also the hassle they out you through before they actually launch you. It is also disappointing that their page is fully covered with their own brand and that yours would be hard to find. No wonder why I did not get much market in Zalora. They only make promises but truth of the matter is, you are better off working on your own or with another partner. I also dont think they communicate well with their couriers because, the supervisor is not well informed of the change of schedule you have.They didnt do much helo in promoting other brands. The only brands they promote are those who are new or the big ones like their own and other big brands. It was a waste of time and a waste of tons of money for us.

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  17. headphones
    Thank you very much for the sharing! COOL..

    ReplyDelete